There was a house fire in Bicester near Oxford at the end of June from which the single resident thankfully escaped and only needed to be treated for smoke inhalation.
The fire brigade were alerted by a member of the public who heard the smoke alarm going off and smelled smoke. The resident was also alerted by the smoke alarm which quite possibly saved her life. Smoke alarms should be considered essential for your home for the protection of you and your family.
This case illustrates how important early detection is as even with warning the resident inhaled enough smoke to need treatment. In a fire the smoke is more dangerous to life than the flames. If you are asleep you can inhale enough to kill you before waking up. In a larger building you will have to travel further to escape so have more chance of inhalation if a fire is well developed. In a large building there should be fire doors as well as early detection. So long as these doors are not open they will slow the spread of smoke and flames around the building and therefore protect escape. In a house this is less likely except in some MHOs. A full fire risk assessment of your business property by competent professionals will identify all risks and all solutions.
At work there are laws that state how often you should have your fire alarm which you should adhere to and keep records.
At home there is no such law or guidance but it is easy for you to do. Identify an event or task that you do once a week (or thereabouts) such as the hoovering or even a TV programme you watch. Just before, during or afterwards you’ll then remember to press the button on your smoke alarm to check it is still working.